King Salman of Saudi Arabia’s visit to France for a three weeks holiday has sparked protests on Monday with nude swimmers and demonstrators kicking against the closure of a public beach for the king.
Authorities sealed off Mirandole beach in Vallauris on Saturday to prevent protesters from occupying it as King Salman and his 1,000-strong entourage arrived for the three-week vacation.
Some 100,000 people have signed a petition against the closure and the King’s plans to build a staircase and wooden walkways from his holiday home down to the beach in Vallauris.
The online petition insists the beach should be “available for the benefit of all”.
It reads: “This beach, like any other public maritime domain, should be available for everyone, including residents, tourists, French people and foreigners.
“We recall that this natural zone, like all maritime public estates, is an intrinsic public property that should be available for the benefit of all, residents, tourists, French, foreigners or people passing through.
“We ask the state to guarantee the fundamental principle of the equality of all citizens before the law.”
Mr Falcou was quoted as saying: “We cannot accept that there is one law for the rich and powerful and one law for everyone else.”
The king’s inner circle will reportedly be staying at his villa – between Antibes and Marseille – while about 700 others will stay at hotels in Cannes.
Police have reportedly prevented demonstrators from getting near the property and have said anyone causing a disturbance would be arrested.